Public Health Care


What is Public Health Care?

Public health promotes health, prevents disease, prolongs life and makes it better through the organized efforts of society.

Public health contributes to: improved health of the population, decreased health disparities, decreased burden on primary and acute care, and improved preparedness and capacity for emegencies.


As PH is not directly responsible for unrolling change, it is more of a data collection agency working as a catalyst or change agent, working as the conscience in situations where the right thing to do is not the most popular.


Population health approaches focus on the population, addressing determinants of health and how they interact with each other. Evidence-based decisions should be made whenever possible. It is important to invest in upstream projects which will payoff down the road. We need to collaborate across sectors and levels, as well as facilitate involvement of society, communities, and individuals.

Public health laboratories are critical to public health, providing early detection, identifying causes, and compiling data on infectious diseases.


Public Health Care Issues

Core functions include population health assessment, health surveillance, disease and injury prevention, health promotion, and health protection.


  • environmental
  • chronic disease &
    injury prevention
  • mental health
    & addictions
  • early childhood
  • infectious
  • health
  • emergency

environmental sustainability

need to find role of public health in the environment

chronic disease and injury prevention

This is especially important given the economic costs of chronic disease and the impoact these have onhealth care sustainability.

chronic illness


There's talk of a chronic disease alliance comprised of NGOs;

  • the province will pitch some money, but the organizations will also need to kick.
  • what's the role of PHANS in chronic disease?

clean water, restaurant standards, etc

mental health and addictions

under-recognized, societal impact, underlying factor for other key issues

early childhood development

prevention from the getgo

infectious diseases

risk management

Our integrity is also at stake as communities/policymakers expect our ability to respond

communicable disease outbreaks


immunization and vaccines

travel health

PANORAMA is an information system

Elaine Holmes is the director of communicable disease prevention and control

soon there is going to be a public health lab that will be announced.

geomatics is the stody of locations of disease

health disparities


emergency preparedness

Pandemic planning is moving towards an 'all-hazards' approach, whereby all issues - ie hurricanes, strikes, etc, are considered

infectious diseases outbreaks



Public Health Renewal and Expansion


In 2006, Nova Scotia published the Moloughney Report reviewing public health here. The review made 21 major recommendations, all of which are inter-dependent and comprehensive in scope of system renewal.

Thoughts on renewal can be found here. How can we keep the system operational while change is happening?

Moving public health online will include training, communication, records, tools, and other things. Geomatics is the study of



We need to identify core leadership able to spark change as we build and enhance partnerships. Systems thinking is required. longer term thinking: we need to get out of the 4 year cycle.



We need shared dialogue across levels of health care and across other sectors in order to develop a common understanding of public health's functions and appearance. Roles and responsibilities should be outlined.

Communication strategies need to be thought out. Build capacity from within community - participatory driven, as we work together to create supportive environments for further change.






Organizations, Resources, and References

Public health is offered by government departments, academia, and NGO's.

Public Health around the globe

WHO World Health Report 2002 - Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life

Public Health in Canada

Health Canada

Environment Canada


Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

FNIHB/FH communities

National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools

Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA)

Pan-Canadian Public Health Network



Public Health in Nova Scotia

Department of Health Protection and Promotion

HPP is part of Nova Scotia's work to improve public health by directly improving health, supporting capacity building, developing policy, and investing in our workforce.

Integration and collaboration are important to them.


DHA Public Health Services

  • integrated settings-based approach - schools, workplaces, community
  • program delivery
  • partnership development with communities and organizations

The Medical Officer of Health is at arm's length from the government, giving her the ability to speak up and represent the public good.


Public Health Association of Nova Scotia (PHANS)